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manasteel88 avatar 4:07 AM on 12.24.2011  (server time)
Stuff...but more importantly, Happy Holidays!

So I guess we are in the thick of the Holiday ramp up. I celebrated Chanukkah a few days ago and now I've got Christmas around the corner. I haven't celebrated the full 8 nights because of my wife's schedule, but we've still had fun times. Best part of this time of year is that I get presents. Most of them I bought myself, but there is always the mystery prize that sits in the corner with a pretty little bow on it. You know the one, it looks like it houses a sweater, but your mind is telling you that it's something like the Skyrim Collector's Edition or whatever the hot toy of the season is.

Since I don't have a clue what the next couple of days will be like, I just wanted to give you all a hearty Happy Holidays. May you get everything you wanted and a few things you didn't think you needed.

Okay, on to some random stuff I've been doing.

Recently I was asked to review some leftover indie games for XBLARatings. The criteria is extremely simple as I only need 300 words to review a title. Not hard. However, I'm not really used to trying to apply points to a 10 point scoring system. The system I use is fairly straight forward and in my head I thought I could convert it until I realized that everyone else that rates the game is equating 7 as average.

So now I just recently gave a game a 4 (it deserved it) and I'm stuck trying to figure out what a 4 actually means. On my scale that would be average, but I don't want to confuse a reader trying to figure out this system. I don't know how the Destructoid review staff can do this 10 point bs. You guys are either geniuses or are just throwing darts at a board when you come up with this crap.

Anyway, I'll probably do a little report or something on here to at least bring my words home. We'll see.

Thing about reviewing indies is that I don't really have time to play some of the stuff I have a vested interest in playing. I think the most I've played is Batman Arkham Asylum recently and I just don't get why people fell all over themselves for that game.

No, that's not exactly true.

I went through the quick little Scarecrow scene. That finally got me a bit more interested in it. However, as soon as I complete something really cool, I get stuck in a room with 15 visible Riddler's Challenge trophies and I lose all the focus I have for the game. The next hour and a half is spent trying to get every single one of those damn trophies even though there is always one you can't quite get to because you don't have the proper equipment. If I can see it, I should be able to reach the fucking thing.

I guess it's that mentality I have. It's the same reason I can't stand more than 10 minutes of Metroid.

I suck at exploration games, Metroidvanias in particular. Different games have different levels of success as I like Castlevania much much more than Metroid, but at some point it turns in to torture. They basically treat you like a dog which they then place a biscuit balanced on your nose. You have all these ideas in your head how to get that treat, but you do not have the right to get it. Your master hasn't granted it to you. So you wait until the cruel master grants you the ability to get it.

If you've ever done this to a dog, look in to their eyes and see that pained expression as they bow to your will. Obviously, some masters are more lenient than others, but for the most part the effect is the same. For some sick reason I find myself still coming back to these games like Zelda or Castlevania. I guess that's the puppy dog loyalty in me.

I recently bought a good deal of the DC Animated Universe in a less than $5 Best Buy sale. This included Green Lantern Emerald Knights, All-Star Superman, Batman/Superman Public Enemies, Batman Under the Red Hood, and Justice League Crisis on Two Earths. Overall, they are all worth the less than $5 purchase, however Public Enemies is such a mixed bag of garbage that it is painfully entertaining to watch.

They basically took the terribly mediocre and weird 1st arc of Superman/Batman and fixed all the issues it had while creating an equal number of new issues. It is incredibly awkward to view if you've actually read the book (which probably accounts for 90% of the people that bought this). The rest of the movies however are all of decent quality with Green Lantern Emerald Knights being the highlight of the group.

It's like what Batman: Gotham Knight should have been.

I guess since I've seen a good deal of these titles, I'll list them in order of good to bad and you can take that for what you will.


1. The Batman Superman Movie
2. Green Lantern Emerald Knights
3. Justice League Crisis on Two Earths
4. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
5. All-Star Superman
6. Batman Under the Red Hood
7. Justice League New Frontier
8. Superman Doomsday
9. Batman Gotham Knight
10. Superman Batman Public Enemies

Please note that I have not seen the original Batman the Animated Series movies in years so I can't rate them based on nostalgia bias.

Speaking of cartoons...I haven't watched a lot of anime recently, but of the two shows I'm currently streaming, Future Diary is pretty good if you can stand some Yandere. The idea is that 12 people must kill each other to recreate the new world. They in turn only have their diaries (that tell some form of the future) to save them. It's a bit ridiculous and over the top, but the twists are unexpected and to be honest, work. This would all work extremely well as a visual novel with decision trees like 999 and I'm honestly shocked that somebody hasn't done that.

I've also been watching Haganai which actually does a lot with games. The Monster Hunter episode alone is worth the pilgrimage. It's basically a club for the loners of the school, which then must obviously transform itself into a harem comedy. It's a good piece of comedy, though it doesn't do much to really push it forward as something more.

Now I should be watching Majikoi Oh this season, but I haven't. I want to wait for Yandere to finish his patch first, which is pretty stupid because I'm sure they aren't going to ruin too much since the game has multiple paths. I dunno. I might marathon through this weekend now that I have some time off. just ran their Top 100 Western Video Game Music list and I really tried to highlight some songs I didn't think were represented well right before they closed up. My Top 5 however was exactly what you'd expect a top 5 to be.

Top 5
Donkey Kong Country 2, Stickerbush Symphony
Portal, Still Alive
Civilization IV, Baba Yetu
Tower of Heaven, Indignant Divinity
Halo 2, Halo Theme Mjolnir Mix

The rest in random order
Mass Effect 2: Suicide Mission
LED Storm: Title
Aquaria: Undiscovered Waters
PLOK: Title Theme
Donkey Kong Country: Ice Cave Chant
Eternal Champions: Character Bios
Spider-man X-men Arcade's Revenge: Spider-man's Theme
Spider-man X-men Arcade's Revenge: Title Theme
Spider-man X-men Arcade's Revenge: Cyclop's Theme
Shantae: OASIS
Tower of Heaven: Lonely Tower
Agent X II: Stage 3 Music
Gauntlet III: Title Music
Chronos: Title Music

There are a few things I'm not really sure I like on their list. One in particular is NeoTokyo from TimeSplitters 2. To be fair, I really hated doing that stupid follow mission over and over and over again (because I'm not sneaky). However, Siberia belongs proudly on that list. It is fun to have a whole list like this though and that's the point. Not many people know a lot about western game musicians (other than the Baba Yetu guy) and this finally gave them some recognition.

Also, Tim Follin is the fucking man. I learned that from doing this research.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to get a GotY post out this year in time this year. I don't really have anything put down and I have a couple other blogs bouncing around in my head. However, I made myself a nice little trophy for the event if I ever do get to it.

We'll see.

I guess I should end this on something festive. From all of us in the manasteel88 household to all of you in the places that you currently reside, Happy Holidays.

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